The system of alternative schools in Mississippi has largely failed to provide a high-quality education to its students, and its poor design leaves many children drifting toward dropping out or failing, says a report by the American Civil Liberties Union and its Mississippi chapter.
The Feb. 24 report says the state’s alternative schools have seen a 23 percent increase in students in the past four years.
Many of the alternative schools focus primarily on punishing and isolating troubled students rather than educating them, said Jamie Dycus, an ACLU lawyer and the principal author of the report. He said the findings prove the entire system needs refining, adding that “alternative schools might be actually pushing students to drop out.”
Black students were twice as likely to be referred to an alternative school as white students, according to the report’s data from 2004-05 and 2007-08.
A version of this article appeared in the March 04, 2009 edition of Education Week